Atlanta Falcons: Assessing John Abraham's Chances at Making the Hall of Fame

Justin BlanchardContributor IIDecember 17, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 18:  John Abraham #55 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts after a sack against the Arizona Cardinals at Georgia Dome on November 18, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

A 13-year NFL veteran, defensive end John Abraham undoubtedly has had himself quite the decorated career—so much so that he likes his chances of making the Hall of Fame when all is said and done (per USA Today):

"I'm not saying I'm solidified as one, but I definitely have a chance to be if I continue to play the way I'm playing and get a couple of more years out of this raggedy body of mine and put some more numbers up," [he] told USA TODAY Sports [Dec. 14]. "I'm 13th overall right now (in career sacks) and, if I can play well enough, I can get in the top 10 or top five. That would be nice."

Indeed, Abraham definitely will be remembered as one of the best defensive ends of his generation whenever he decides to retire.

But will he be recognized as one of the best of all time?

Let's take a look.

Since being drafted 13th overall by the New York Jets in 2000, Abraham has racked up 402 tackles, 122 sacks, 41 forced fumbles and one interception in his career. 

It's resulted in four Pro Bowls and three All-Pro selections for the 34-year-old Abraham, who still has plenty left in the tank despite his age. Case in point, Abraham leads the Falcons in sacks this season with 10 through 14 games.

While his career sack total has him currently ranked 13th on the all-time list, Abraham could very well finish in the top five if he keeps playing at this level for a few more years. Abraham is only 28.5 sacks behind Hall of Famer Chris Doleman's mark of 150.5, which has him fourth on the all-time list.

Yet, even if Abraham were to reach that mark, it still may not be good enough.

In fact, not even a top 12 finish guarantees him a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Sure, eight of the top 12 players ranked on that list currently have a bust in the Hall. But they're not in the Hall solely because of how many times they reached the quarterback.

They're in there for being the very best at their position—for being unstoppable forces in not only rushing the passer, but in stopping the run; warriors who played every down, players who changed the game.  

Currently, Abraham doesn't fit that description.

There's no denying his sacking ability, but his inability to have been much of anything else over his career certainly hurts his chances.

The proof is in the list.

Ranked third all-time in career sacks with 160, Kevin Greene—who played 15 seasons from 1985 to 1999 with four different teams—still awaits the day he is voted into Canton.

The truth is it may never come.

As a player, Greene never took over games the way Reggie White could. He wasn't the complete player Bruce Smith was. He never became the nationwide symbol for fear the way Lawrence Taylor did.

In short, Greene was never more than a solid pass-rusher throughout his career.

Sound familiar?

At 34 years of age, Abraham still has time to climb the all-time sacks chart.

And that may be enough for the Hall of Very Good. When it comes to the Hall of Fame, however, it's a completely different story.